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EXTREME RISING AND ECW ARENA NOTES

By Mike Johnson on 2013-12-29 02:58:20

The iPPV replay of Extreme Rising is already up and can be ordered at this link. I was told the iPPV did excellent numbers for the live streaming and that there were no issues with the live broadcast.

The show drew in the 700-850 range to the new version of what used to be the ECW Arena, which as it turned out, isn't completed yet. The building is slated to be finished with its new design by April, at which point it will have a grand opening and begin featuring events promoted by lots of different event promoters. Pro wrestling will be featured, but the days of the venue being wrestling-centric and the days of promoters being able to pretty much burn the venue down are long, long gone.

For those of you who had been inside the venue before, it was pretty much the same with some changes. The old stage, balconies and alcoves are gone. The original entrance is closed and the new entrance is instead in between where Forman Mills (now closed) and the Arena meet. The new entrance, when done, will be a huge lobby with giant screen TVs and a series of glass doors and vendor areas. Once you enter there, the doors to the Arena will be on the left while to the right will be bathrooms and some new features the venue hasn't revealed yet). The Arena sat all flat seats at Rising, but the plan is to install a permanent balcony/second level over the next few months (think the Grand Ballroom in the Manhattan Center with a balcony on several sides). The area where the old stages used to be was completely curtained off and used for Rising's entrances. The side of the venue that held the Eagle's Nest (where JT Smith was famously thrown off so many years ago) now features the entrances into the Arena from the lobby as well as a new permanent wall and a new concession stand, located in the corner where the entrance way was during the ECW era. What struck me about all the changes is that how much it felt like the Arena itself didn't really change all that much, although obviously it had. The biggest change was how dark the venue is without any of its old lighting rigs installed.

I didn't catch this live during my report but a masked man interfered during the Crowbar vs. Rhino match. That was Colby Corino, son of Steve Corino, who I believe is coming in under a different masked gimmick. The idea here is that the gimp (which is what he was referred to backstage) was an ally of Crowbar's.

CZW owner DJ Hyde as well as several female wrestlers from the old Dangerous Women of Wrestling promotion Steve O'Neill ran were backstage at the event.

The issue with the Television show is that Arda Ocal was scheduled to come in from Canada and be the lead TV host. Weather issues several weeks ago caused his flight to be canceled. Rising wanted to do TV production this weekend but another announcer (not sure who) had a conflict due to family plans. Since production couldn't be done on the TV show, there will be no debut episode on 1/1 and the show will be delayed. Ocal is apparently out as Matt Striker and Joel Gertner were announced as the announce team for the show when it does debut. Striker was not at the show tonight.The iPPV announcing was handled by Joe Dombrowski and Joel Gertner.

Rich Ortiz, who had never worked in the venue before, pushed to work heel as he knew the crowd would immediately turn on him as a former WWE wrestler.  He was raving about the electricity of the venue backstage after his match and loved working in front of that audience.

While the mystery man was Steve Corino tonight, at different points the promotion discussed or explored AJ Styles and Davey Richards as potential possibilities.

Devon Storm had a nice shiner under his eye from his match with Rhino. Storm was thrilled about how his repaired triceps held up during the match as he really went out there trying hard to test how it would handle a truly physical match.

For those who asked, Shane Douglas was not backstage at the event and was not involved with the running of the show. Before the show, Steve O'Neil pretty much referred to himself as the person who was running day to day and cleaning up Douglas' messes to the live crowd.

The Steel Cage match, Homicide, BLK Out and Da Hit Squad, as well as obviously Corino, were all booked as surprises to give the crowd something extra.

Ronnie Lang's Atlas Security was in the house. They had a little bit of work for themselves after the Rising title bout as a fan and Corino got into a screaming fight at the entranceway and Corino finally had to be pulled back into the locker room.

Former ECW Producer Charlie Bruzzeze handled the ringside camera work of the show. Several old members of the ECW production team were also at the show.

Michael Pancoast of Pancoast Productions, who has done an excellent job in the past with CZW and WWNLive.com production, handled the production aspect of the show.